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Gaming Performance and Compatibility Under Vista

The final version of Vista performs better than beta 2, RC1, or even RC2, but the performance still cannot beat that of Windows XP. The following table shows the specs for our gaming system test machine.




Pentium IV (D) with 3.6 GHz (dual-core)




NVIDIA GeForce 7800 GT


Creative Labs Sound Blaster X-Fi XtremeGamer

Hard disk

WD Raptor 74GB (10,000 RPM SATA)

For this article I tested more than 50 games, including major titles from 2005 and 2006 such as World of WarCraft, Age of Empires III, F.E.A.R., Serious Sam 2, Splinter Cell, Battlefield, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, and Half-Life 2. Fortunately, 46 titles worked with no problems, while only 4 refused to cooperate with Windows Vista. Unfortunately, the performance was a bit of a disaster. In 26 titles, I noticed a drop of 10–35% in frames per second (FPS) performance, which might be due to the early stages of the NVIDIA graphic drivers (see Figure 3). Still, Microsoft told the gaming industry that Vista will run games 10–15% percent slower than Windows XP, which is due to some features (such as the Aero Glass theme) running permanently in the background. At this point, I’m unsure whether future drivers will compensate for the performance loss.

Figure 3

Figure 3 Gamers will notice a performance drop when playing under Vista!

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